Department of Commerce:

Compliance with the Inflation Adjustment Act

GAO-02-1085R: Published: Sep 30, 2002. Publicly Released: Sep 30, 2002.

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GAO initiated a governmentwide review of the implementation of the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990. The act requires each federal agency to issue a regulation adjusting its covered maximum civil monetary penalties for inflation by October 23, 1996, and requires each agency to make necessary adjustments at least once every 4 years thereafter. During the review, GAO determined that the Department of Commerce had adjusted its civil penalties in a manner inconsistent with eh requirements of the statute.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Office of the Secretary within the Department of Commerce published a final rule adjusting the department's civil penalties in accordance with the requirements of the Inflation Adjustment Act on January 29, 2003 (68 FR 4380).

    Recommendation: Although there are some advantages to rounding on the basis of the size of the increase rather than the size of the penalty, such a determination does not comport with the plain language of the statute. Therefore, the Secretary of Commerce should initiate a regulatory action to adjust the agency's civil penalties in a manner consistent with the requirements of the Inflation Adjustment Act.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce


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